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Keith Ferrazzi discusses how to build meaningful relationships in Homecoming keynote

By Natalie Sportelli '15 on September 20, 2013
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Keith Ferrazzi helped kick off events for Homecoming Weekend.

Keith Ferrazzi helped kick off events for Homecoming Weekend.

Homecoming Weekend keynote speaker Keith Ferrazzi presented a simple message to Colgate students, faculty, and staff on Thursday: establish deeper relationships.

The New York Times bestselling author and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight — a consulting firm designed to help people collaborate more effectively — focused on the idea of generosity when building more meaningful relationships with others.

“When you’re building a relationship with somebody, the first thing [you need to do] is to get into your own head and decide before you walk into that room that you’re going to like them,” Ferrazzi said.

He spoke about how finding common ground and connecting through shared values, respect, and trust can build a strong foundation for any new relationship.

“Find a reason to care about any person,” he said. Adding, “Let your guard down, be enthusiastic, and give back.”

Ferrazzi noted that all career paths are driven by relationships. Concurrently, he advised his audience to do their research on their interviewer, rather than the company, when it comes to conducting job interviews. By showing a level of interest in a potential employer, the interviewee can quickly establish a fledgling relationship that could become more if she or he is selected for the position.


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Complete Homecoming schedule (PDF)


“Sociologically, is it easier to build relationships today?” Ferrazzi asked his audience in Memorial Chapel. After letting the crowd mull it over and make their guesses, many responded “yes.” To which Ferrazzi replied, “It is more difficult.”

Ferrazzi explained that society today uses technology in a transactional way, wherein individuals do not go into depth with their relationships; rather, they spread them out more superficially.

The Center for Career Services and the Dean of the College office are putting together small groups to read Ferrazzi’s book “Who’s Got Your Back” and discuss how to apply Ferrazzi’s relationship strategy to life and career exploration. E-mail ccs@colgate.edu for more information.

The lecture was presented by the Presidents’ Club, the Robert A. Fox ’59 Leadership Institute, Athletics, Colgate Women in Business, the Panhellenic Association, the Interfraternity Council, and the Center for Career Services.

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